Contemporary home

Punctuating open-plan living

Open plan living is something many of our clients want to achieve. That feeling of space, the flow of activity from one space to another, those well-lit views through windows from every corner – it’s no wonder it’s a popular choice.

Open plan comes with its own particular challenges though. The obvious one is building in storage so that the impression created is of spacious calm order, not a really big room full of stuff. If we lose interior walls, we also lose some of the natural places to accommodate shelves, cupboards and drawers.

Another one, paradoxically, is the need to demarcate space. Long sight-lines are great, but our lifestyles tend to require certain areas for certain functions. It helps to design a series of open plan rooms to allow the space to be naturally ‘punctuated’ to create separation within an open-plan whole.

A home organistion hub designed by Bear Interiors separates an open plan kitchen and dining room

This custom-built home organisation hub elegantly solves both problems. Making effective use of the brick piers between kitchen and dining area in this listed 1960s home (but it could equally be free standing) this is the spot where domestic paperwork is done and immediately filed in robust office-standard filing drawers.

The home computer and phone are on hand with cabling neatly hidden, and the coffee machine helps make this the go-to spot to use and store useful home admin stuff.

The hub uses the same timber, veneer and genuine Formica finishes used in the rest of the kitchen, all designed, built and installed by Bear Interiors. Details like the polished chrome kickplate add an extra touch of luxury to a highly functional piece of custom furniture.

By separating kitchen and dining with a half-height unit, the family can enjoy the size and aspect of their open plan room but keep the more functional bits and pieces out of sight while they sit down over a meal. The feature is equally good to look at from the dining room side, providing a useful wall to site a radiator (another common issue when interior walls are missing).

A custom built altar table by Bear Interiors


This attractive altar table serves as a useful serving and display area. Designed and built by us and inspired by the 1960s aesthetic of the house, it also fits exactly around the radiator to ensure the heat can reach the room.

Not every log basket is shabby chic

A contemporary log box by Bear Interiors, Bath

A contemporary log box designed and built by Bear Interiors

We really love this beautiful storage box designed and built for a customer recently. They needed something sturdy and long-lasting, which worked alongside some of our built-in shelving, in a home which combines traditional with modern. The usual shabby-chic / basketware look just wasn’t right, but it’s surprisingly difficult to find fireside accessories that are anything else.

The interior lining of metallic flooring is fantastically hardwearing but also injects an industrial, practical edge to this robust piece, ready to hold its own (and the logs!) in an elegant contemporary room.

You don’t have to settle for the wrong style just because the right one is hard to find. You can design your very own one-off piece to fill that empty spot exactly, and love it as much as we love this.



Contemporary Georgian? No problem

Contemporary storage for a modern orangery - Bear Interiors, BathWorking with a lovely family locally I’m reminded that houses don’t come with instruction manuals. You have to live in a new space, get to know it and what you want from it to really know what you need.

This family’s beautiful home had a stable block which has been converted to include a master bedroom suite, with a newly-built orangery attached. The stately Georgian proportions mean the furnishings need a certain scale and impact, but with new additions, contemporary has to work alongside period. And the fact that it’s a real-life family home means its needs lots of storage including purpose built media space.

Not a solution your average furniture shop can come up with. Here’s where custom-made furnishings can pay off, and where the investment in interior design time is really worth while – not just a few sketches, but a slow evolution of ideas over weeks and months.

It’s worth spending the time living with an idea, exploring and improving ways to get the final delivery right, and that’s what happened with this family as they were getting to know their extended home afresh.

It’s nice when an idea is spot-on first time, but it rarely works that way. As a client, you have the right to take an idea away and live with it for a while before you come back with refinements that make it perfect – for you.

There’s more about our approach and lots of design ideas at

Wardrobes and desk by Bear Interiors, Bath

Built-in wardrobe space and freestanding bureau desk for master bedroom

Custom made media unit by Bear Interiors, Bath

A freestanding media unit with concealed cable management